As the puck drops for tonight's Detroit game at St. Louis, a game with major seeding implications for the Preds, I can't help but think of 5 measly little seconds.
Yeah, at the end of the season every team looks back at a game here or there and wonders “what if…” but man those five seconds at the end of the Preds February 17 game in Detroit….
Even with an overtime loss in that game, the race for the No. 4 seed and home ice in first round of the playoffs would be radically different. And watching tonight's Wings/Blues game would be a little more relaxed.
The Preds enter tonight’s game with a one point edge over No. 5 seed Detroit. Add one point to the Preds total and Detroit’s climb would be more challenging. Nashville already appears to be in good position in a tie-breaker against Detroit – the Preds hold a +2 win advantage in ROW (regulation and overtime wins, the first tie-breaker if team’s finish the season with the same number of points) with the Red Wings only having three more games on their schedule. But the second tie-breaker, head-to-head series, is tied 3-3-0 with all six games finishing in regulation; that single point would have given the Preds the one-point win in head-to-head. The third tie-breaker is goal differential, a category where the Red Wings hold a significant edge over the Predators.
Not to discount all the great Preds comebacks this season – the wild wins over Columbus (both on the road and at home, thank you Martin Erat
for your goal with 8.4 seconds left; yes I know the irony of pining over five seconds and waxing poetic over nine seconds) an unreal third period at Minnesota (yes, I know, Fisher’s game-winner was scored with mere seconds left on the clock, see the same disclaimer on the Erat goal) – but the fan in us tends to focus more on what our team could have done and less on what our team actually did.
Especially when the end of season standings are so close.
And one point here or there can make the difference between staying in Smashville for Games 1 and 2 or opening on the road.
So as we get ready for the final four nights of games, those final five seconds at Detroit will pull at our brains.